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How to spend your Animation Budget for maximum quality

Jan 30, 2020animation pricing, Blog, educational animations, eLearning tips, video-based learning0 comments

You have an educational course and you want to spice it up using animation. Unfortunately, deciding on an animation budget is a difficult thing. If you’ve done your research, you probably noticed that animation studios often don’t publish their pricing on websites. The reason is animated videos are tailor-made and need to be budgeted like other tailor-made products. Through this article, we will guide you through and help you make the decision on what sort of budget is most worthwhile for you!

Animation budget must start from your purposes and expectations

Educational animation’s purposes

Animated video is a powerful engaging medium. In fact, the human brain processes images 60,000 times faster than text. Therefore, choosing animation as your teaching aid is a great decision you make. But how much should animated videos cost you?

To best understand the budgeting of an animation, you have to understand how much it’s worth – meaning what its value is to your course. Animated clips can be little visual aids to your lessons or more important parts of your class. For example, you may want to set a budget for:

  • A short animation that visualizes your content 
  • Some story-telling videos to use for case studies
  • A series of videos with varying purposes for a full animation-based course

Tip: keep each clip short (2-3 minutes), otherwise they may become distracting! 

Want to keep animations from disrupting learning? Give this a read:
> How NOT to make educational animation a distraction in eLearning

Often, once you have decided to invest in animation as a teaching aid, you will want to have more than just one video. The number of clips depend on your purpose. Moreover, each of these calls for a different budget. Perhaps you can already guess that a short animation will require a smaller budget than a whole series of more complex clips. 

 Animation types

From here, you will likely also start thinking about what type of animation suit your online course. Specifically, do you want whiteboard, 2D or 3D animation? Obviously, the higher the technology required (e.g. 3D), the more money you’ll have to set out for it. 

If you are not sure what type of animation you want, spend a minutes for this article:
> Best types of animation for your online courses

For instance, the animation budget for whiteboard animation can be around half of 2D animation one with simple model. That’s because of simple designs and movements, and accessible tools. Meanwhile, a basic 3D animation might be charged at least 3 times the of a 2D video. This is because the technology and skills needed are much more complex and expensive to get your hands on.

Output expectations

For each animation project, you will also have to think about the quality of individual clips. These may include asking yourself:

  • How many characters would you like to have?
  • Is the script going to be heavy on technical content or visual content?
  • Do you want them to be richly colored or are basic color schemes fine?
  • What will the audio of the video be?

All these have a bearing on your animation budget – the complexity of the script and the requirements you have on the audio that will affect the cost of animation. Altogether, these considerations will affect your budget. 

Find out about what is included in the cost of animation here:
> How to estimate price for a 2D animation video 

All of these considerations ultimately comes down to what your students expect or can get from this addition to their course. For example, when the video is doing most of the teaching, like this TedEd clip below, and the students expect to learn a lot from it, the quality of image and smoothness of motion should be high. Additionally, there is also a wide range of settings used, which makes the animation more complex, thus requiring a bigger budget. 


Simple template to generate your animation budget 

Now that you know roughly what affects your budget, we can start thinking about specific amounts. To help you get there, we’ve created a list of yes/no questions, the answers to which will give you an indication of your budget. Here’s the list:

      • Is using 2D designs going to be better than whiteboard animation for my course?
      • Will 3D animation be necessary? (they might be for highly specific content like medical training) 
      • Should the motions be swift and smooth rather than simple? 
      • Will I need a complex color scheme?
      • Do I need help with the script? (Does my script rely more on the visual effects animators can create?)
      • Are characters going to make my animation more engaging and effective? If so, will I be needing more than two characters? (the more characters, the more pricey your animated video is)
      • Will these be a need for voice-over that I cannot do by myself?
      • Are you building a brand image for your course through animation?
      • Will you require consultation with educational animation experts?

In case you can’t decide beside 2D and 3D animation, check this out:
> 2D vs 3D animation: which works better as animated educational video

Answer these questions, count the times your said ‘yes’ and voila! We have the answer for you. These recommend animation budget have a wide range due to various choices that you may have in choosing smaller or bigger animation studios.

You said ‘yes’ twice? Your budget should be from $400 – $10,000 per minute animation. 

This indicates one of three kinds of animations. 

  • Simple, short story-telling clips, often for children, that requires characters that are often colorful but not very specific. You can also do your own voice-over for this. 
  • Demonstrations of expertise knowledge that may require more detailed designs but simple storyline, little expertise in animation knowledge.
  • A series of basic videos, most likely whiteboard animation, to use in several lessons and situations

In both of these cases, the work will be less complicated, as long as you communicate well with your animator.

Affirmative for up to 5 questions? Your budget: $3000 – $20,000 per minute video

In this case, you may be looking for more high-tech animation, with effects and movements that require more work. Perhaps these has to be unique designs or even hand-drawn animation, since your video are not using generic characters or objects but very specialized ones. As a result, the clip will cost your more, so expect to pay more!

Find out if high quality animation is worth it here:
> Custom animated videos: why should you opt for high quality?


If you answered ‘yes’ more than 5 times, get ready to splurge!

Requiring more than 5 of the elements listed above means that you are looking at rather complex scripts and high quality animations. You may need detailed, 3D designs which there are no existing templates. Similarly, the movements and transitions of the videos may be technically advanced. This high level of expertise will necessitate a higher animation budget!

In conclusion

Of course, as we’ve mentioned before, the animation price varies in each of these three budget estimations depending on which kind of studio you approach. A bigger, well-established one may have access to some more advanced programs, but will indeed give you a high quotation. On the other hand, smaller studios can give you much lower offers, and still give you a lot of expertise that you as an educator will not have. They are a great option for beginners, since the animation budget required will be moderate, and the products will definitely be worth it!

Want to find a suitable animation studio, check this article:
> How to hire an animation studio for education services?


If you still have doubts or questions about other aspects of producing animations for educational purposes, check out some of our other posts below or contact us for free consultation!


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